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- Where Plenty smiles - alas! she smiles for few,
And those who taste not, yet behold her store,
Are as the slaves that dig the golden ore,
The wealth around them makes them doubly poor.
- The Village, Book 1, line 136 (1783).
- The murmuring poor, who will not fast in peace.
- The Newspaper (1785), line 158.
- A master passion is the love of news.
- The Newspaper (1785), line 279.
- Our farmers round, well pleased with constant gain,
Like other farmers, flourish and complain.
- The Parish Register (1807), Part 1: "Baptisms", line 273.
- Oh, rather give me commentators plain,
Who with no deep researches vex the brain;
Who from the dark and doubtful love to run,
And hold their glimmering tapers to the sun.
- The Parish Register (1807), Part i, "Introduction". Compare "How commentators each dark passage shun, / And hold their farthing candle to the sun", Edward Young, Love of Fame, Satire vii, Line 97.
- Her air, her manners, all who saw admir'd;
Courteous though coy, and gentle though retir'd;
The joy of youth and health her eyes display'd,
And ease of heart her every look convey'd.
- The Parish Register (1807), Part ii, "Marriages".
- The mind here exhibited is one untouched by pity, unstung by remorse, and uncorrected by shame; yet is this hardihood of temper and spirit broken by want, disease, solitude, and disappointment, and he becomes the victim of a distempered and horror-stricken fancy.
- The Borough (1810), "Preface"
- Habit with him was all the test of truth,
It must be right: I’ve done it from my youth.
- The Borough (1810), Letter iii, "The Vicar", line 138.
- In this fool's paradise he drank delight.
- The Borough (1810), Letter xii, "Players".
- Books cannot always please, however good;
Minds are not ever craving for their food.
- The Borough (1810), Letter xxiv, "Schools".
- In idle wishes fools supinely stay;
Be there a will, and wisdom finds a way.
- The Birth of Flattery, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
Tales in Verse (1812)
- Who calls a lawyer rogue, may find, too late
Upon one of these depends his whole estate.
- Tales iii, "The Gentleman Farmer".
- Cut and come again.
- Tale vii, "The Widow's Tale".
- Better to love amiss than nothing to have loved.
- Tale xiv, "The Struggles of Conscience". Compare: "'T is better to have loved and lost, Than never to have loved at all", Alfred Tennyson, In Memoriam, xxvii.
- But 'twas a maxim he had often tried,
That right was right, and there he would abide.
- Tale xv, "The Squire and the Priest". Compare: "For right is right, since God is God", Frederick William Faber, The Right must win.
- 'T was good advice, and meant, my son, Be good.
- Tale xxi, "The Learned Boy".
Tales of the Hall (1819)
- Secrets with girls, like loaded guns with boys,
Are never valued till they make a noise.
- "The Maid's Story", line 84 (1819).
- He tried the luxury of doing good.
- Book iii, "Boys at School". Compare: "And learn the luxury of doing good", Oliver Goldsmith, The Traveller, Line 22.
- To sigh, yet not recede; to grieve, yet not repent.
- Book iii, "Boys at School". Compare: To sigh, yet feel no pain", Thomas Moore The Blue Stocking.
- And took for truth the test of ridicule.
- Book viii, "The Sisters".
- Time has touched me gently in his race,
And left no odious furrows in my face.